The city of Accra has been facing an ever-growing traffic problem. Bumper-to-bumper traffic has become a common occurrence in a city which currently has a population of about 4.2 million. More citizens are using private vehicles to get to their destinations and ride-hailing startups are seemingly here to stay.
The traffic situation has also manifested a new popular way of traversing the city: “Okadas”
“Okadas” are motorbike taxis that provide rides to passengers from one area of the city to another for a fee. Okadas have become ever-popular in the city of Accra as the traffic situation has become worse over time. However, the rise of Okadas (which are technically illegal in the city) has led to government officials taking notice and cracking down on motorbike riders.
Last year, the government of Ghana stated that they would offer a solution to the evergrowing Okada issue.
This year, they rolled out an initiative is a called “Okada for Car“. The initiative involves the government offering Okada riders mini vehicles in exchange for their bikes. Riders would be able to purchase the vehicles and make payments with a payment plan.
But what is this initiative going to solve? And is it going to make the traffic situation in Accra better or worse?
What Are These “Okada Vehicles”?
The government recently imported the Okada vehicles into the city of Accra to start the “Okada for Car” initiative. The vehicle brands that were brought in are “Bajaj Qute“.
They are a popular brand used especially in India. The Qute is a rear-engine, 4 wheel driver with 4 seats. It has manual transmission with a speed range of 70khm. It is not considered technically a car and more of a “quadricycle” because of its speed range.
On one hand, the government is trying to “sanitize” the Okada situation by making Okada riders go through a formal system and be registered. Riders would be using their Ghana Cards to register for the vehicles.
On the other hand, the rise of Okadas has been exponential because of the increased number of car vehicles being on the road. So deploying more cars wouldn’t necessarily “solve” anything and would rather make it worse.
If anything, maybe the new Qute cars could have been used as the official “taxis” to replace many of the outdated taxis presently in the city.
Accra’s public transportation sector doesn’t look like it will benefit from this new initiative. Presently, the “Skytrain” initiative appears to have stalled and no new updates have been provided. The Bus Rapid Transit system appears to be dead in the waters as well.
Will “Okadas for Cars” help with the situation? It doesn’t look like it will.